Early this morning, a website starting making the rounds on twitter. Occupy Flash was given a leg-up from Smashing Magazine, and made it’s way onto my computer monitor. Before I even read the copy, I knew this was a mistake. The idea behind Occupy Flash is to encourage web users and the tech-savvy to banish the Adobe Flash player plugin from their computers, and from the computers of their loved ones, coworkers and offices. This mission is both insane and impossible.
In July 2011, 99.0% of Internet-enabled computers had Adobe Flash player installed. Can you imagine the outrage if web developers from accross the globe burst in through these people’s doors and uninstalled it? Imagine the hundreds of thousands of people issuing letters of disgust to Occupy Flash’s doorstep because they can no longer play Farmville or watch the video their grandson put on YouTube.
Now, I’m well aware of the fact that organisations such as Youtube and Vimeo - the movers and shakers of the online video world - are embracing new technology. They both have HTML5 versions of their popular video streaming services, which is great. But adoption of this new technology is slow. They don’t advertise the new video players, which I think is a mistake. They could quite easily detect support for the new technology and advise users to test it out. But that’s a different story.
The main reason that Occupy Flash will fail is because the dismissal of Flash player is not the responsibility of the web developer, or the tech-savvy; it’s the responsibility of the Flash developers. Turning around to them and telling them their platform is failing is not an easy thing to do, and they need to see it on their own. The team building Farmville and other such popular games need to be embracing new technology themselves - it’s them who have the largest impact on the Flash community. As soon as you tell 80 million users that there’s a better, faster and more stable Farmville just around the corner if they upgrade (notice I didn’t say when they upgrade) their browser, adoption rate for new browsers such as IE9, Chrome and Firefox would skyrocket. Internet Explorer 6 would have been dead for years by now if Flash Player didn’t run on it.
By encouraging people to burst into their Grandparent’s houses and uninstall Flash player, you’re discouraging Flash users from enjoying the new web. Well over 50% of the websites they frequent will cease to work - Youtube and Facebook are amongst the top most visited websites. Like I mentioned earlier, Youtube doesn’t advertise their HTML5 player at all, and nearly every single Facebook game relies on Flash player.
Rather than telling Flash users to change, Occupy Flash should be telling Flash developers to adapt. It’s really that simple. Stop blaming the user. It’s not their fault.